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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: An Analysis of Family Mass Murder Offenders in the US, 2006-2017

Published onFeb 22, 2022
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: An Analysis of Family Mass Murder Offenders in the US, 2006-2017
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An Exploration of Family Mass Murder Offenders
An Exploration of Family Mass Murder Offenders
Description

In recent years, media attention has increasingly focused on sensationalized forms of mass murder across the United States, thereby diverting attention on the most frequent typology of mass murder events: family mass murders. The current study addresses limitations within this body of work and provides an analysis of demographic and case characteristics associated with distinct family mass murder offender types. The current study utilizes the USA Today database, Behind the Bloodshed, and public news articles to assess 163 family mass murder incidents that occurred from 2006 to 2017. Using this database, which defines mass murder as the killing of four or more victims excluding the offender, there were an average of 14 family mass murders annually, most often committed by a current or former intimate male partner using a firearm as the weapon of choice. Additional case characteristics were examined and revealed significant differences based on the gender of the offender as well as by victim-offender relationship type. Recommendations for future research include examining the impact of gun violence prevention responses in domestic violence cases and providing a comparative study of two and three victim counts to better inform law, policy, and the public about what is often hidden away as a private family matter.

 

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